Sure Care (UK) Limited is ordered to pay £37,000 for failing to protect a resident from harm

Published: 17 April 2024 Page last updated: 17 April 2024

Sure Care (UK) Limited, the provider of Derwent Lodge Nursing Home has been ordered to pay £37,000 at Liverpool & Knowsley Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to a person.

The provider, pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment to Joseph Leighton, thereby exposing him to avoidable harm. They were fined £25,000 and also ordered to pay £10,000 costs to CQC which brought the prosecution, and a victim surcharge of £2,000.

Mr Leighton was admitted with his wife to Derwent Lodge Nursing Home, in Wirral, on 21 May 2021. Mr Leighton had been diagnosed with dementia and was admitted for nursing and personal care, and his wife was admitted for palliative care. Mr Leighton showed signs of agitation after moving in and expressed a desire to leave the home several times. His wife sadly passed away on 4 June 2021. Following her death, Mr Leighton’s agitation increased.

Early in the morning of Sunday 6 June 2021, Mr Leighton forced his first-floor bedroom window open and climbed out, holding onto the windowsill before dropping to the ground. On landing, he suffered injuries to his lower back and right foot. He was taken to hospital and was found to have fractures to one vertebra in his spine and in his heel bone.

Mr Leighton was moved to a different care home. On 24 August 2021, he sadly passed away. A post-mortem examination provided his cause of death was partly due to the fractures he sustained during the fall.

An investigation by CQC found Sure Care (UK) Limited failed to ensure Derwent Lodge Nursing Home was fitted with HSE compliant window restrictors. The lack of window restrictors had been identified during a local authority quality improvement visit on 5 July 2019, and again in an audit of Mr Leighton’s room on 7 June 2021. The CQC investigation also found invoices for window restrictors dated 13 May 2021 and 20 May 2021 however these had not been fitted.

The case relates to Regulations 12, 22, and 23 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

Karen Knapton, CQC’s deputy director of operations in the north, said:

“This is a distressing case, and our sympathies are with the family of Mr Leighton and those affected closely by his death. Sure Care (UK) Limited failed in their duty to protect him in a place he should have been safe and receiving the best possible care.

“This fine is not representative of the value of Mr Leighton’s life, but this, and the prosecution reminds all care providers they must always ensure people’s safety and manage risks to their wellbeing.

“The majority of providers do a good job. However, where we find someone has been put at risk of harm, we will use our regulatory enforcement powers to protect people.”

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.